Reflective technology looks good on paper

January 01, 2008

An Electronic Paper Display (EPD) possesses a paper-like high-contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption, and a thin, light form.

Figure 1: An electronic paper display



Electronic paper displays

The problem: Many of today’s consumer and industrial applications spanning handheld devices, watches, clocks, and informational/promotional signs have to use display technology that is too thick, heavy, and costly.

An Electronic Paper Display (EPD) has a paper-like high-contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption, and a thin, light form. Revolutionary electronic ink from E Ink Corporation enables a variety of these electronic paper products.

Reflective technology looks good on paper

Electronic ink, or ink that carries a charge allowing it to be updated through electronics, is ideally suited for EPDs as it is a reflective technology viewable under a wide range of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, and doesn’t require front/backlight or power to maintain an image. Leading electronic ink and EPD technology developer E Ink Corporation manufactures an electronic ink that converts into film used as an optical component to make EPDs.

E Ink’s electronic ink can be mated to a wide variety of “backplanes” that can be flexible or rigid, depending on the application demands. The company has a formidable array of relationships with companies developing all kinds of “backplanes” and packages.

Future technology developments will enable many new applications through ultra-thin, lightweight, rugged, flexible, full-color displays.

Beyond today’s generation of technology, which offers the visual look of paper in terms of contrast, brightness, and viewing angle, future versions will integrate E Ink’s flex-ready products with plastic electronics currently under development by several companies. Integrating these two technologies will create a display that not only has the look of paper, but also closely resembles its form – thin, light, flexible, and rollable.

The vision of E Ink is to combine these attributes to create RadioPaper, a lightweight, flexible display with the readability of ink on paper plus the added benefit of digital technology to download newspaper headlines or a best-selling novel at the user’s command. In the future, clothing, buildings, and information appliances all will have the ability to communicate. Ultimately, electronic ink will permit most any surface to become a display.

E Ink Corporation
Founded: 1997, based on research started at the MIT Media Lab
Headquarters: Cambridge, MA

OpenSystems Publishing